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Boise Basque Jaialdi festival postponed until 2022

This is the second time the Basque Jaialdi celebration has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

BOISE, Idaho — Jaialdi, Boise's weeklong Basque festival, has been postponed until July 26-31, 2022 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The festival was postponed for the first time in April 2020.

Organizers were hoping to hold the festival during the 2021 summer, but because the event attracts an estimated 30,000 people from Idaho, other states and other countries, it was decided it could not take place this year.

"We are a community that likes to hug each other a lot and dance together and commiserate," said Julie Hahn, the event's marketing coordinator. "It's just not safe, we couldn't in good conscience invited so many people here".

Worldwide infection rates, the pace of vaccine rollout and advice from local health experts also played a role in the decision to postpone the event, according to event organizers.

"It is so hard to make the decision to postpone again because Jaialdi is such a vital and joyful time to reconnect with friends and family from across the globe," said Jaialdi board member Amy Wray. "But this is a festival that even in normal times happens just once every five years — and we want to make sure we can hug our friends and family from around the world, crowd the Basque Block and our favorite events, and dance the jota together."

Jaialdi typically occurs every five years. The festival began in 1987 and began its every-five-years schedule in 1990.  

Restaurant owners on the Basque block look forward to the increased revenue during the event and long for it, especially this time around. 

"It's usually a crazy time for us, we tend to be crazy busy," said Tony Eiguren, owner of the Basque Market. "Some of the best parts of the festival are seeing the old people and the young kids playing together and everyone in between but if it's dangerous right now for everyone we understand it and we are willing our part".  

Travis Wright is the general manager at Leku Ona on the block, he said during that week, the restaurant typically brings in anywhere from $30,000 to $45,000. While he recognized that the extra cash would help the restaurant recover from the two months they had to shut down, he believes Idaho's Basque community will get through it. 

"It's difficult for us, it is difficult for any restaurant to have an event like that be canceled," Wright said. "We will be stronger than ever coming out of this, we just gotta hold on".

Though the event was set to take place in 2020, the timing of Jaialdi 2025 will not be affected.

More information can be found on the Jaialdi website.

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